There is still time to register for our 2020 camp programming.

Tsuga Raises Thousands Every Year through Annual Auction to Support Affordable Custom Camp Experiences for Kids

This Year’s Auction will be May 4, 2019

at the Mark Spencer Hotel in Portland

Theme: “May the Forest Be With You” 

Purchase Tickets Online at


The Event:

Event Coordinator Erin McPherson and the rest of the TSUGA (pronounced “sue-guh”) Board are excited to announce this year’s Dinner and Auction, May the Forest be with You, which will enrich the lives of Oregon’s Youth through Custom Summer Camp Opportunities. The event, held at the Mark Spencer Hotel in Portland,  raises thousands every year to provide funding necessary to keep camp costs affordable for all families. TSUGA camps help kids explore what it means to be a member of their communities, and build their social capital and leadership skills. 

The event’s Main Sponsor, Urban Restaurant Groups, will be onsite providing catering services, a “wine wall” and staff. Live Auction Items include Autographed Trailblazer Gear, a Sunriver Getaway, Brew Classes, and More. There will also be a Silent Auction and Quilt Raffle. Dinner provided with purchase of ticket. Individual Tickets are $60 and can be purchased Online through Tickets purchased by April 24 will also receive a custom woodcookie name tag keepsake with personalized engraving.

Mahalo 2013

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Tsuga began in 2006 as a chapter of Operation Purple (camps for Military Youth), and began operating on its own in 2013. That year, Tsuga operated both the military youth camp as well as piloted Neighborhood PLACE: Parks Learning and Community Enhancementat the Linnton Community Center in NW Portland.  

Through PLACE, we want youth and teens from each of Portland’s neighborhoods to play an active role in the local planning process.  We also believe that every family / kid should be able to afford to go to a local summer day-camp.  Neighborhood PLACE guides the involvement of youth from a given neighborhood to activate underutilized open spaces for summer recreational and educational purposes.

PLACE teaches waste reduction curriculum, basic land use practices and community livability.  PLACE encourages youth to take on stewardship roles within their local natural areas after camp, and aims to inspire greater sensations of community belonging and ownership.  In addition to studying crime prevention through environmental design and basic land use practices, we also study watershed health in general and do a community enhancement project within the Riparian Zone of local parks (if available for group projects).  We work with local area school programs to target our outreach and recruitment efforts toward low-income families.  Our goal is to increase social capital, community capacity and to reduce the potential for summer vandalism by fostering a local sense of youth stewardship (positive ownership) over one’s neighborhood and our shared parks.

In addition to continued operations of PLACE, Tsuga officially ended Operation Purple in 2017 due to a lack of funds available for camps in Oregon.  However, we still served 100 campers age 7 to 17 that year through Oregon Summer Star, and youth of military families, grandchildren of military families and friends of military-connected youth were welcomed to attend, for only a $150 registration fee, thanks to funding from our auction.

Oregon Summer Star is our State’s most admired military-family support program.  It’s a low-cost week of summer camp that allows us to look inward, smile outward and have the best week of our summer together. Oregon Summer Star is not about promoting military service or endorsing any political policy.  It’s about preparing our youth with skills for a balanced life and about maintaining a healthy next generation of Oregon families. Our staff are well trained and recruited from other programs – they’re very good at what they do.  Many have been staff for military family support camps in Oregon with Tsuga for many years. 

This year, we are piloting our third camp, Camp Two Roads. Camp Two Roads believes that outdoor happiness deepens awareness, kinship and adventure. We strive to provide the tools necessary to empower young women to be confident leaders both in the outdoors and within their communities. We work to broaden their horizon of possibilities so that they have the courage and ability to blaze their own roads in life.

Campers develop confidence with outdoor skills such as knots/lashing, compasses and fire building. Also, they learn how to cook in the outdoors, study nature and build positive communication skills through teamwork challenges. Recreation activities include, swimming and water sport, archery, arts and crafts, hiking and more. Each evening brings a full campfire program and late night activities include a night hike, and an outdoor movie under the stars with popcorn or an all-camp dance. We turn off the technology for a full week and exercise interpersonal skills.  Camp Two Roads is fun, safe and an important opportunity for young women to get to know themselves and the world around them.

Our Annual Fundraising Dinner and Auction supports these programs, making them accessible for youth of their respective communities.

What is TSUGA?

In Operation for over 10 years, we pride ourselves on quality camp programming. Made up of a community commission, Tsuga creates impactful, community-building summer camps for specific youth communities in Oregon. Our unique programs give kids a needed break from the pressures of everyday life while helping them develop critical social capital skills. We are developing three outstanding, intentional programs for 2019:

  • Oregon Summer Star returns to serve our military families as they prepare for our state’s largest National Guard deployment since 2014.
  • Camp Two Roads is our brand new program designed to empower young women to reach their full potential.
  • Neighborhood PLACE encourages youth from low-income families to become leaders and change-agents in their communities.

Why the name “TSUGA?”

Tsuga (/ˈsɡə/ from Japanese:  ツガ) is the Hemlock genus of conifers in the pine family (Pinaceae).  The Cascade Range Mountain Hemlock  is recognized by its rugged frame, purple colored cones, and exposed roots, which are used to help teach youth what it means to belong to common ground and live authentically in their communities. Our Mantra is “Those who grow with roots exposed, know of belonging to common ground.”